Lampung ITERA Snaps Rare Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)

18 January 2023 17:54 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaAn extremely rare comet, dubbed comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), made its closest approach to the sun or at its perihelion on Thursday, January 12, 2023. It reached a distance of 160 million kilometers from the sun.

Following its perihelion, the comet moved towards the earth and made its closest approach to our planet or perigee on February 2 with a distance of 42 million kilometers.

The Astronomical Observatory Center at Sumatera Institute of Technology (ITERA) in Lampung managed to snap the rare comet on Monday, January 16, at 05:00-05:15 Jakarta time.

Aditya Abdillah Yusuf, a researcher at OAIL, expressed his joy in getting the photograph of the rare object considering the city’s sky was often cloudy in the early morning.

“I’m glad that it is finally captured after gloomy weather for the past few days. Magically, the sky is bright at dawn,” said Aditya in a short message on January 18, 2023. The photo was captured at ITERA campus remotely by using a robotic telescope OZT-ALTS.

“The tool was developed and has been operating since late 2021. But this is the first time it is used for observing comets,” he explained.

According to the astronomer, the telescope is specifically used for hilal or new moon observation. “But we have seen its potential for observations of other objects, such as comets, exoplanets, or nebula.”

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)

Comet is a huge celestial object with a long tail consisting of a nucleus of dust and ice and orbits the sun. Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is discovered by astronomers Bryce Bolin and Frank Masci using data from Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) on March 2, 2022.

This Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is considered rare as its orbit forms a hyperbola so it is only seen once in a lifetime. 

MARIA FRANSISCA LAHUR

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